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Freemasonry at its Best

Its not very often that I receive unsolicited reviews following our meetings

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But, Freemasonry continues to surprise me and last week’s meeting on the 11th March was no exception. With 46 members and guests in attendance including a representative from UGLE, (hoping to see a masterclass) our PProPGM  (just coming to meet the boys) and other 2 Grand Officers ( coming because they like us) , the pressure was on. But was surprised to receive ….

“What can I say, it was an absolute delight to be with you on Friday evening for a ‘feast’ of Freemasonry – it epitomised to me all that is great about our wonderful organisation, and indemnifies what I very much suspected would be the case in North Harrow. Will you please pass on my sincere thanks to the WM and brethren for the warmth of their hospitality and welcome in both the temple and at the festive board, They and you should also be congratulated on two first class ceremonies”.img_2093

“I have been sifting words of praise through my concise list of symbols to express my thanks for attending North Harrow last Friday. It was a delightful masonic evening that is etched in my list of visits.  All are to be congratulated for attending to their special part that gelled into a sparkling crystal.”

“Just a quick but very sincere note to say thank you so much for inviting me to join you at North Harrow Lodge yesterday. img_2102 Having been aware of the changes you were making over the last few years towards the revival and ultimate success of the Lodge it really was a wonderful demonstration.  It showed just what can be achieved with an understanding of how the application of modern technology can draw younger people into the organisation. You should have been justly proud of yesterday’s meeting.  To get so many members from such a variety of backgrounds taking part so enthusiastically and competently was a joy to watch”. 

From an active membership of 18 in 2010 to a membership of 40 today, we’ve come a long way, all down to good strategy and forward thinking. This has now culminated in all our offices being held by light blues with the support of 10 stewards in the wings and with good mentoring were ready to shine.

This became evident at our last meeting where we were to perform a Second degree followed by an initiation.IMG_1400 Our Worshipful Master performed the Second Degree ceremony faultlessly with his usual aire of confidence with our Senior Deacon conducting the candidate exceptionally well with the assistance of another steward standing in as acting JD for that part of the ceremony, our chaplain’s delivery of the long 2nd degree working tools was a joy to behold.

It was then my turn to take the chair in order to perform the ceremony of initiation for a candidate that contacted me 4 years ago at the age of 17 and had now just turned 21. The two stewards acting as deacons swapped roles seamlessly without anyone noticing.

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Bro JW needed a drink

Silence ensued, There was the dreaded knock on the door. Alas,  It was the Tyler advised us that the candidate was yet to turn up due to traffic conditions. Plan “B” swung into action. We decided to ‘call off’ for a short while and on asking the principal officers to be upstanding, I quickly realised that the young Wardens had never called off before (or even practiced it) and the reply to my inquiry of the Bro JW “What time is it”? was classic but sincere. He immediately glanced at the clock and replied ” 5.45, WM”. That reply relaxed everyone in attendance.The acting JD and recently appointed Steward who lives in Serbia, flew in for the meeting and only agreed to take on the role 3 weeks previously  when our serving JD was unable to attend. 

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Steward / JD going home

His performance was stunning, ( all down to excellent guidance over Face Time by our Mentor) as was the charge after initiation delivered by our Bro. JW in such an outstanding and theatrical manner.  Culminating in our visiting Officer presenting the initiate with a copy of the Ancient Charge . A joy to be present. After which

 Bro. Secretary had the pleasure in reading the details out of another TWO registration forms. The festive board that followed was also a delight and a fitting end to a great day. That meeting, in my opinion, was the best I’ve experienced in over 30 years and long may I continue to be amazed. We now are looking forward to our next meeting where we are performing a 3rd Degree in the presence of our newly appointed APGM on an official visit. Ahh ! we thrive on pressure. 

 

 

Meeting the Lord Mayor

Last week I had the honour and pleasure of attending the Worshipful Company of Butchers Ladies’ Banquet.

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The Company’s Ladies Banquet this year took place at Goldsmiths’ Hall, a beautiful and charming palazzo style building built in the late 1820s and faithfully restored, post the Second World War, after a bomb exploded in the southwest corner in 1941.3656

200 Liverymen donned in white tie and tails and guests attending the
event on a cold evening the Reception was a sparkling affair with the Royal Marines Association Brass Quintet providing stirring and uplifting accompaniment before and during dinner. The Company guests were The Lord Mayor who is also Master of Guildhall Lodge No.3116 and his Consort, Lord and Lady Mountevans, accompanied by their Sheriffs, Alderman Charles Bowman and his wife Samantha as well as Dr Christine Rigden accompanied by her husband Stephen. We also were fortunate to have Mrs Isobel d’Inverno, The Deacon of the Incorporation of Fleshers of Glasgow, and her husband Brigadier Joseph d’Inverno.3660

Dinner was a sumptuous four course affair commencing with Spring Garden Pea Mousse with Serrano Ham Crisp and Ham Hock Terrine, followed by a delicious Sole Veronique. The main course was a delightfully cooked rump of lamb although it has to be said that only a true trencherman could have eaten the quantity provided! Dessert was a well presented citrus tart with a blackcurrant sorbet quenelle. This was followed by the Loving Cup Ceremony, a tradition amongst Livery Companies that goes back generations. The RMA Quintet finished with a breathtaking Post Horn Galop (how do musicians appear not to take breath during the finale!). Toasts and speeches followed with The Master, Patricia Dart, launching the Companies Fundraising Appeal to support the refurbishment of The Hall and presenting a cheque to The Lord Mayor for his Charity Appeal as well as a present of a paperknife IMG_1817masquerading as a meat skewer. The Lord Mayor was gracious in his words about The Butchers Livery and our strong role in the City. The toast to The Guests was humorously made by Stuart Thompson our Renter Assistant with The Deacon of The Fleshers replying who made much of their ties with The Butchers Livery as well as commenting on the role of women in both Companies.

The evening was rounded off with a spectacular, light hearted, post dinner entertainment by Apollo5, an ‘a capella’ ensemble of five very talented singers who had everyone swaying in their seats with tunes such as Java Jive, Sway and a cracking encore of Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy. IMG_1821A huge amount to fit in over quite a short period but the event finished only two minutes over the planned time much to the relief of The Clerk! A Stirrup Cup was then enjoyed but all too soon it was time to depart. The 2016 Banquet has certainly set the bar for future events.

Last of the Twitter Pins

Could this be the last of the Twitter Pins ?

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It is almost Two years ago that I embarked on the venture of raising funds for

The Royal Masonic Trust for Girls & Boys and on Twitter  with what has now become one of the most sought after and iconic “must have” Masonic accessory, namely The Masonic Twitter Pin.

With over a thousand being sold to date, raising approximately £3,000 for the RMTGB and the Middlesex Provincial 2020

Middlesex Freemasonry

Festival , where the total raised in the first year has already exceeded £1Million .
But, alas, all things must come to an end and the last of these little beauties has been found lurking in one of the pockets of my Masonic jacket, so I thought it only right that I give everyone a fair chance of obtaining one by placing for auction on eBay , As always, With ALL proceeds going to the Charity.

Don’t miss out !! It’s your last chance

Freemasonry on the Move

2015-11-07 21.40.08Keeping Freemasonry on the move is one of our main objectives.

However, It has been a couple of months since my last post and in the back of my mind I knew this would happen. But due to work, family and holiday pressures, the website has not had a blog posted. Sorry Guys ! so I thought I would bring you up to date NOW with what has been happening at North Harrow.

In December we had our yearly Christmas lunch at the Metropolitan Police Sports Club in Bushey, where  over 20 of us attended and had a lovely meal in their carvery restaurant. All of us enjoyed a great afternoon of fun, food and fellowship. It’s what Freemasonry is all about.IMG_1400

On January 15th January  we had over 40 attend our regular meeting at Harrow to witness the initiation of Matthew Jeffrey, the first of our two candidates for this year. Matthew was pleased that his grandfather ( not in photograph) was able to be present and witness his becoming a Freemason. he is a keen cyclist, so I aim to put him in-touch with the Provincial cycling team.

Our next meeting is at Harrow District Masonic Centre on IMG_1404Friday 11th March aims to be another good one, when we will be performing a Ceremony of Passing for Jeffrey and the initiation of Hari Ravindran, who approached me some 2 years ago at the age of 19, with an interest in joining North Harrow. Having been told he would have to wait until he was 21, he contacted me again last August , just after his birthday. It will be my pleasure to initiate him at the meeting.

This should put our active membership to 40, which is almost double what it was 5 years ago and a reduction in our average age from 67 years  to 47 years . That’s what I call bucking the trend.IMG_1406

Please contact me if you would wish to witness what will be a  couple of great ceremonies, just like our regular guest, W.Bro Phil, who seems to get in all the photos !

Worshipful Company of Woolmen Sheep Drive 2015

I invited my daughter to accompany me to one of the Ancient Traditions of the City that have gone on for hundreds of years, that of Freemen of the City of London having the right to Herd Sheep over London Bridge.
This is her account…. Well worth a read.
http://sheloveslondon.com/how-to-herd-sheep-across-london-bridge/

 

 

Becoming a Liveryman

7365Following my previous post on my journey of becoming a Liveryman and obtaining the Freedom of the City of London . I thought you may be interested in my next step which was on Thursday 3rd September when I was honoured to be  ‘clothed’ in the Livery of the Worshipful Company of Butchers in a ceremony which for the first time in the Company’s history was allowed to be witnessed by my family and good friends Vaughan & Susan Coleridge-Matthews. The ceremony was followed by the traditional champagne reception and a superb Luncheon of racks of Devon Lamb for the 160 Liverymen and guests in the Great Hall of Ironmongers’ Hall, as Butchers’ Hall has been leased to developers for Five years before its refurbishment.20931132728_9aacd764b2_o

The Worshipful Company of Butchers is one of the seven oldest of the City of London Livery 7374Companies, we are ranked 24th in order of precedence out of 111 Livery Companies. Granted its Royal Charter of Incorporation by King James 1 in 1605, the Worshipful Company of Butchers has been the significant power behind the trade in the City of London and around Smithfield for over a thousand years. Direct links with the Crown go back before the 12th century when rents were extracted for markets and grazing.

Livery Companies play a vital part in the government of the City of London, the constitution of which, although unique in the structure of local government in the United Kingdom and7390 enshrined in custom and tradition, is assuredly as effective, economic and democratic as any. Above all, it maintains the position of London as a world centre of business life.

Every Liveryman of the City of London plays his or her own part in the government of the City, as all Liverymen must initially become a Freeman of the City of London. This status allows the Liveryman to choose and elect the Lord Mayor of London and the Sheriffs of the City each year. Liverymen participate in many functions of the City and of the Corporation.

Admission of the individual to the Livery is, accordingly, an act of dedication to the cause of 7415good government and order – and of community service. The Liveryman may earn, indeed may expect to receive if he or she discharges his obligations, the respect and approbation of his fellows. He or she, however, must not expect any personal material advantage or preferment.

The Company is highly active within the City of London and the meat industry. We proudly participate in The Lord Mayor’s Show during November while the traditional delivery, by Liverymen, of a boar’s head to the Lord Mayor at the Mansion House is symbolic of a payment for rent on a piece of land supplied to the Butchers by the Lord Mayor in 1343-but which the City no longer owns and the Butchers no longer rent!

7413Such events provide the opportunity for fellowship between industry members and the City of London. As part of its educational charitable work the Company is proud to facilitate the development of butchery skills through competitions, courses and apprenticeships while funding bursaries for the Postgraduate Meat Management Diploma at Harper Adams University and supporting Nuffield Scholarships.

A proud and active Livery Company we look forward to serving the country and our industry over the next millennium.

A Lodge Wedding

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 A Lodge wedding took place on the 29th August and was a 0003special day for one of our members , for it was the day when our IPM , W.Bro Vaughan Coleridge-Matthews decided to get married to Susan.

The ceremony was conducted at the Manor House in Sherborne where a large contingent of our Lodge members gathered to witness the wonderful occasion after travelled to the lovely town in Dorset. The bride was given away by her son, Joseph, ( 2 sheep and 4 goats were mentioned, I personally thought it wasn’t enough) whilst Vaughan’s two sons attended to the safe keeping of the rings and the photography. Susan’s sister gave one of the readings, whilst I had the pleasure of delivering the second, which I thought was appropriate (only just) 0010

A reception was held at the Grange at Oborne, a country hotel that offered great 0007accommodation, service and food and able to put on a wonderful spread with copious bottles of champagne. I can truthfully say that we didn’t go short. Many stayed for extra days to take advantage of the bank holiday weekend. Those members and their partners who did were able to have a lovely dinner with the happy couple on the following night before making their respective ways home.

We wish the couple many years of health, wealth and happiness for many years to come as long as Vaughan continues working…

Quarterly Communications of Grand Lodge

Grand Lodge continues a scheme to enable Master Masons not serving in the office of Warden to attend Quarterly Communications and experience Grand Lodge proceedings

The next Quarterly Communications of Grand Lodge will be held on Wednesday 9th September 2015 at 12 noon and will normally be concluded around 1.00 pm. MMs are required to arrive by 11.15am for registration and be seated by 11.45am.

This is a reminder to encourage all Master Masons who have received their Grand Lodge Certificates and not serving in the office of Warden to attend the Quarterly Communications and enjoy a Grand Lodge meeting at its best.

Admission is by ticket only. Full information will be communicated in advance.

It is our intention to meet at the Freemasons’ Arms after proceedings for refreshments and a bite to eat if required and where we may be honoured by a visit by the Pro, or the Deputy ProvGM, for a chat and a drink with the “boys”.

If you haven’t already done so, could you bring this event to the attention of your members and urge them to come along, would you also please forward this message to the Lodge Events Coordinator and the Mentor if one is appointed.

All Past Masters are encouraged to attend with the MMs to guide and inform them on procedures of Grand Lodge.

Those MMs attending will need to wear a dark suit or morning dress, their Master Mason aprons (no Lodge collars), white gloves and either a plain black tie or the Craft tie.

Please note that the Provincial tie must not be worn.

The closing date for applications is 1st September 2015, but please don’t leave it too late, we have a limited number of seats allocated.

Please reply directly to me by either telephone, or email so that I can register your attendance.

Electronic tickets will then be sent to you from Grand Lodge.

Freedom of the City

I know many masonic members will have attended Freedom ‘ceremonies’ but for those that haven’t, I thought I’d tell you about my experience of this on 30th July.

19529623303_f05d68291a_oIf you wish to proceed within a Livery Company, you need to be admitted a Freeman of the City of London, 19962589790_f5c28ffd74_omine is one of the most ancient, the Worshipful Company of Butchers, the seventh oldest City Livery Company, dating back to about 1314 a.d.  

Once you have received the Freedom of the Company, you need to obtain the Freedom of the City of London.  This involves two visits to the Chamberlain’s Court in Guildhall about a month apart, the first of which is an application for the freedom in which you present your livery freedom document, birth certificate, marriage certificate and a cheque for £100.   Once your application is approved by the Court of Aldermen you get a letter inviting you to book the second appointment, which is for your ceremony of freedom admission.

I booked mine in for Noon on a Thursday because I wanted to have a celebration lunch afterwards with20150600285_5b39fdffd0_o my wife and one of my daughters. sheepOn the day we arrived early as requested and spent a delightful half hour in the office next to the Chamberlain’s court talking to the Beadle, reading the declarations, looking at the artefacts on show and taking pictures with the sheep sculptures (yes, mention the Freedom to 20225756441_f1c53b5c4a_opeople and you’ll always be asked if that means you can drive sheep across London Bridge. The origin of this half-myth is that the12th Century stone London Bridge was paid for by a tax on wool and as a freeman gained exemption from tolls he would have this right)

We were then called in to meet Murray Craig, Clerk to the 20156175461_ce68861439_oChamberlain’s Court and he ran us through what was to happen – basically you read aloud a declaration and sign the Declaration book and are then offered the ‘right hand of fellowship’ by him. The ceremony dates back to medieval times and the original craft guilds which trained the young and looked after the old – and later became liveries. Murray was very entertaining and

 

told us some interesting stories about previous freemen (including Morgan Freeman, Bob Geldorf, Fiona Bruce and some ordinary people with fascinating stories).

As well as my splendidly framed certificate I was given  a red book called ‘The rules for life’ which includes 36 of them – most about  doing your duty, doing good works, living by the right principles  and letting your light shine, which chime well with the Worshipful 2104943731Company of Butchers values!  We had a chance to look at many more wonderful articles on display and read all about the origins of the ceremony and then it was time for the next person to be called so we headed off to CafeBelow, based in the atmospheric thousand year old crypt of St Mary le Bow in the City, it is a family business offering simple, high quality cooking throughout the day and just right for a great meal and a glass of champagne and a toast (Official Toast ‘to the Youngest Freeman’ – meaning newest) .  Another myth you will be told about is the right of a freeman to be ‘drunk and disorderly in the City without fear of arrest’ but we did not try this out either!

However, I have booked my place to drive sheep over London Bridge later in the year.

Battle on at the Proms

We Battle on at the Proms . What a great event yet again.[wds id=”5″]

On Saturday the 18th July,  12 members and partners/friends of North Harrow Lodge Screenshot 2015-07-25 17.11.54attended the Battle Proms at Hatfield House for what has always been a great afternoon and evening of fun and fellowship. The Proms are held every year at 5 different venues over the course of the summer and because of our links with Hatfield House we have attended that one.

A few of us arrived early in the afternoon in the hope of missing the queues, but alas we were again wrong and joined the snaking masses to the entrance gate. As always the event is a massive sell out and more so this year as 2015 marks the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo.19625563049_3f256c4602_o We came well prepared and took along a gazebo ( just in case it rained) ,plenty of picnic food and drink.

The weather Gods were again good to us and we were blessed with glorious weather. The evening was the usual success with copious quantities of food and wine consumed accompanied by excellent live orchestral music, simulated horseback cavalry displays and numerous fly pasts fly by a WW2 Spitfire, culminating in a fantastic firework display in time to music from the 1812  overture. Live cannon fire included….

Will we go again…. ?  Damn right we will…

Our next Social is for lunch on Sunday the 9th August at The Pavillion in Bushey, why not join us ?